A grandfather’s letter to his 13-year-old ‘apo’

Author Tony Joaquin with grandson Julian: ‘Never hurt girls.’

Author Tony Joaquin with grandson Julian: ‘Never hurt girls.’

Former advertising executive Tony Joaquin of Sacramento, Calif., welcomes his grandson Julian Ismael Joaquin’s transition into adolescence. As he ushers him into this new phase leading into adulthood, Tony is also reminding him to always be respectful of women. A man has a choice, and Tony’s wish is for all young men to be “gentlemen” and not “savage brutes.”

My dear Julian,

You are finally graduating with honors from your eighth grade class. And we, your grandparents and parents, are very happy for you.

The next step in your studies is now going to be a little different in the sense that at your age, your body is changing from that of a boy’s body to a young man, or what they call adolescent.

When you celebrate your 14th birthday they call this early adolescence, meaning you are now a young adult. When you turn 17 you reach the middle adolescence and later on the term is called late adolescence, or you are almost an adult and that is when you are over 18 years old.

We are telling you these not because you are not able to handle the changes you feel in your body for you have already been given honors as being a bright student . But, I, your grandpa, personally decided to write you because what I will tell you in this message is very critical not only for your studies but could spell success or failure in your whole life.

Remember Lizette who shares her candies with you during recess, and you did not understand why? Well, Lizette is being a good classmate and friend to you, Junior. Besides you have set an example in the class for your straight “A” grades and she wants to be your friend.

But now that you are entering this phase in your life and you notice some changes in your body, you must be careful not to feel funny when girls like Lizette continue to give you gifts and you experience a new feeling.

In fact, Julian, you will now begin to like girls in general. But you will soon notice that once in high school certain feelings will arise in relating with girls especially if the girls attract you too.

First of all, you probably notice that your parents may argue but no one uses physical force when they do. When we argue we just raise our voices and later on calm down when the argument is finished.

The message I am conveying is that never hurt girls even when you argue.

Remember our neighbor Roger who was your playmate for years in grade school? Roger was a good basketball player but his problem was that he could not hold his temper. You remember that we told you Roger had to go and visit his grand aunt in another state and had to leave hurriedly. Remember that?

Well, Julian, now I can tell you what happened to Roger. When he was in high school he got into a situation when he used brute force to make her girlfriend do something she did not want to. This act, Julian, was considered rape, and Roger, young as he was, had to serve time simply because of that act which is considered by our laws as one of the most terrible crimes against another person, especially a young woman.

In other words, Roger did not go to live with his grand aunt. He was sentenced to serve time in jail after having been convicted of rape.

Julian, if there is anything you should avoid like the plague it is forcing a young woman to perform acts she does not want to do. The woman’s body is sacred for it was created to carry another human being in her womb. Sex was designed by God to procreate and not to be used for fun alone.

I, as your grandfather, pray that you always remember this for the rest of your life because once your life is ruined by a criminal act, you have ruined your future. Together with the rest of us carrying the Joaquin name we all shall suffer shame and embarrassment before the eyes of the community and our friends.

That is all I want to leave you with, Julian. Take this to heart, and may God bless you always.

Your grandpa who loves you much more than you can imagine.

Lolo Tony

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